The Lady Gambles DVD Review

LG3Joan (Barbara Stanwyck) is an addicted gambler. She doesn’t start out as one, she drifts into it after a trip to Vegas. She is there to take pictures of the Casinos for a magazine in Chicago. While working there however she ends up playing a game and one thing leads to another. Life takes her down one trip after another, one game of craps after another, one roll of the crooked dice, one set of cards and then on to more problems. Her estranged husband David Boothe (Robert Preston) has spent that last few months looking for the woman he loved and lost to the dice and the thrill of a gamble.

LG2Stanwyck was the star of some of the great film noirs of the 40’s and also a great actress in her own rights. She had a look and a way that was subversive and sexual in equal measure. With her film noirs became steamy and on occasion, incendiary. Film noirs like The Lady Gambles were the merging of¬†social commentary pictures and the genre in the mid to late 40’s after the success of the Lost Weekend. That was a film about alcohol and this was a film about the addictive power of gambling. The destructive power of a set of dice, horse race or even a simple card game. Not violent or vicious but compelling and driven by characters.

LG1So the film is excellent by any standard. it has a deep power to capture you with its classical narrative story telling, visual depth and pacing. The performances are exceptional but restrained to the point where the emotion is tense and tangible. Above all the direction is awesome. Focus on the visual and per formative hues are such that its a joy to connect with it. I loved it to be honest. It is a film noir I have not seen and one that I am so saddened to have missed for so long. It looks wonderful, clean transfer, great sound, no subs or extras however. Simply media do it again…great film, treated badly…





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